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Darklight Tournament Over Thanksgiving

The night before Thanksgiving while some people are preparing their houses and cooking food, I went a different way. I’m the type of person who decides to hop in my car and drive to New Jersey for a laser tag tournament instead! What amazes me is that’s I was not alone in this decision and there were eight full teams ready to go at the start of this awesome event playing Darklight at Laser One in Wantage, NJ.

I met up with my team, Pyrus Uprising, and greeted the returning core group of players I have played with before and I also met our alternates as we prepared for a full night of Darklight.

After a couple of past experiences, my teammate Devin had learned the value of having an alternate on deck and had actually arranged for three! This was smart because we did in fact need to utilize our alternates, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We began the event rostering eight players including Chaim7 (Chaim), me, Storm Taker (Devin), IDK (Jack), Derpykitten315 (Sammy), Emerald (Andrew), Arcturus (Chris) and Maximum Sneaky (Jane).

The event began with eight teams numbered on the schedule as follows:

1. Hooked

2. Panyee PF

3. Team Bean

4. Pyrus Uprising

5. A is for Arson

6. Really Cool Team Name

7. Lift Dawgs

8. Bulldogs

The schedule was based on eight teams of six with four teams going in at a time, all doing two rounds in each of five game formats. However, the Bulldogs dropped out after the first round, bringing it down to seven teams, which in turn leads to some interesting scenarios based on the subsequent math.

Owner Jim Mainardi gave thorough briefings prior to each game format beginning.

First, I want to acknowledge my teammates for putting up a hard-fought battle. We won a majority of our games. Tournament scoring was based on 5 points for each first place win, 3 for second, 2 for third and 1 for fourth, so even a couple of games could have made things sway. The games often had very close margins. For example, although we didn’t win our first game, there was a reasonably small difference in score between 1st place and 2nd, but look at just how incredibly close it was between 2nd and 3rd place.

A scant 14 points was the difference here! That is nearly negligible…except that 14 points are still 14 points and all points do matter.

We won our next game of Team Basic as we maneuvered throughout the impressive (and slightly convoluted) map of this large, multi-level arena.

We dominated our games of Team Blasters, taking first in both rounds.

However, it was at this point that we lost Sammy due to back issues, so it was good that we were prepared and had Andrew and Jane rotate as alternates for the remainder of the tournament, so we could proceed without missing a beat.

We strategized over pizza about how we were going to proceed in The Rush.

We pulled second by a very slim margin for the first game and took first place in the second game of The Rush. Then we prepared for what we perceived to be the biggest challenge (or more accurately, biggest roll of the dice), which is Pink Panther format. We couldn’t manage a first place here. In both rounds we faced the defending champions, Lift Dawgs, and they took the necessary points to secure the tournament win at this point. However, we were not far behind and were pretty sure we would pull second place for the overall event.

Just an interesting observation…our team appeared to be the most consistently solid as far as total player contributions. The Panyee team had Top Hat pulling the top scores every time and KC was arguably the strongest player for the Lift Dawgs, and nearly all the other players from those teams ended up pulling significantly lower points. I was pleased with my team’s consistency as evidenced that we all made solid contributions that kept us cohesively competitive here, even if it ended with a second place result.

Regardless, I dislike this format because it is so consistently out of balance compared to the other games.

The fact that Lift Dawgs had two games of Borg Acquisition and we only had one (as a mathematical outcome of the Bulldogs dropping out after the first round) meant there was no coming back even though we did win our one and only game of Borg Acquisition, which was the final game of the event.

At least we went out on a high note! Chaim high-fived me so hard after that game he actually knocked my bracelet right off my wrist! Good event guys…group hug!

Final standings looked like this:

My thanks to Laser One for hosting a really enjoyable tournament event. Everyone had a great time! Also, my congratulations to the Lift Dawgs on their victory. It’s always great to play competitive laser tag and I very rarely have the chance to play Darklight, so this was well worth the time to drive to New Jersey. Thankfully, I was able to return home to NY on Thanksgiving Day just in time for turkey! It’s a good day to give thanks for many things, including thanks for an opportunity to play some laser tag at Laser One.

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